An important cross-section of New Yorkers came out for a fun evening of music, dance, great food and island drinks, on a balmy, breezy evening in Harlem, New York. It was all for a great cause. A fundraiser appropriately titled, Jump & Wave celebrating Caribbean heritage was held to support the Harlem School of the Arts (HSA), and the quality arts training they provide to thousands of children annually.
HSA has become synonymous with providing exceptional access to a wide variety of arts programs. It was founder Dorothy Maynor’s wish to provide high level arts training, to the children of the Harlem community. She was inspired by the power of the arts to transform lives, and open previously unimaginable opportunities. What began as music classes with 20 initial enrollees, in the basement of St. James Church, has grown into a premier organization, housed in the 37,000-square foot facility, built by Maynor that includes a 120-seat theater, an art gallery and a garden courtyard with a magnificent waterfall.
The doors of HSA are open to all children who desire and show an interest in the arts.
Among the attendees at this important event were former NFL defensive end, Marvin Washington; former State Assemblyman, Keith L.T. Wright; actors Leon Robinson and Lisa Arrindell; percussionist and recording artist, Taku Hirano and his wife Arthel Neville; Charles J. Hamilton, Jr., Chair of HSA’s Board, and many others. During the course of the evening’s celebration Eric Pryor, president of HSA, took a moment to surprised one particular guest, Janice Savin Williams, a senior member of HSA’s Board of Directors, who was celebrating a birthday. Highlights of the evening’s festivities included the soul/reggae/calypso sounds courtesy of D-Achee and the Cultural One, a band that featured the classic sound of the steel drum, against the backdrop of HSA’s flowing waterfall – a perfect setting for an evening celebrating the Caribbean islands.
Meanwhile, indoors DJ Likwuid (Fay Grim) entertained with her turntable skills and electric combination of Island music, reflecting the full spectrum of musical influences from every corner of the African diaspora. This was capped by a performance that evoked the feeling of carnival in the islands, featuring the HSA Dance Ensemble organized by Aubrey Lynch II, Director of Dance. The event and the evening proved memorable. This important fundraising initiative was a success, thanks to a number of sponsors (Sweet Hospitality Group, Harlem Community Development Corporation, Williams Capital Group), and the in-kind donations and generous contributions from supporters (Blackwell Rum, Ozwell, Island Outpost, Crude Food, Aloft Harlem and Miss Lily’s). For more on the Harlem School of the Arts (HSA) and to become a supporter, visit http://hsanyc.org.